Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.

Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.

Only In Italy is a daily news column that translates & reports on funny but true news items from legitimate Italian news sources in Italy.
Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.Only in Italy is a daily news column that reports funny and weird news on Italy, the mafia, Italian culture and Italian travel.
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March 2004
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"The Return of Gladiator"


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"Salve a Tutti!" A big warm welcome to the first official issue of "Only In Italy"!

How did this web site and newsletter come about? Well, after many many years of living in Italy and participating in useless strikes, protests, rallies and goat fights, we felt that this was the only way the real truth about Italy could reach you; the truth of what happens only in Italy.

"But Italy is beautiful! It's wonderful!" Of course it is. It's a dream. It was once the capital of the entire world. BUT what about the Italian race? Hmmm...?

Have you ever rationally dealt with the Italians in Italy? How about the ones in the USA?

It's difficult to take a rational road with Italians because for most of them the bridge is out. Even the polar bears have problems rationalizing with Italians that live in the South Pole. They'll make you sip that espresso fast and leave you running for the borders of Switzerland, Slovenia, Austria and even that France. But no need to fear, our disciples, because we're here to help you discover the truth, 5 days a week!

However we are compassionate humans and it's only fair that we also write positive things about Italians, but unfortunately, none of them come to mind right now. So, sit back, our lovely readers, and drink in the warmth, the humor, and the truth that is the "Only In Italy" newsletter.

By the way, we certainly hope that our fellow Italian hillbillies in the outskirts of every major city on the planet will discover electricity, buy computers and subscribe to this stupid newsletter!

Enjoy the issue and Grazie!

Tanti Saluti,              
"Only In Italy" Staff       

15 Arrested After Italy Soccer Match Turns into Riot

Rome - March 22, 2004 - Police arrested 15 people and more than 170 were injured when the Rome soccer derby match between Lazio and AS Roma erupted into a pitched battle between police and fans late on Sunday.

The match was abandoned in the second half after a false rumor circulated that a young boy had been killed by a police car outside the Olympic Stadium.

Police denied the rumor but rioting broke out in the stands with some supporters setting fire to the seats and raining flares and bottles down upon lines of riot forces.

Police responded by firing tear gas, while outside the stadium, fans set up barricades in the streets and fought a running battle that newspapers said lasted around six hours.

"It was true guerrilla warfare," one police source said.

Some 155 police officers were wounded, one with stab wounds, and 21 fans were hurt, Rome officials said.

The second half of the match was four minutes old, with the score at 0-0, when a fan walked on to the playing area behind the Roma goal to interrupt the match with the rumor of the death.

Both sets of players gathered in the center circle to discuss the situation with referee Roberto Rosetti as flares rained down on riot police positioned underneath the south stand, where the majority of Roma's supporters were sitting.

After a 15-minute delay -- during which tear gas and then smoke billowed into the stadium through the exits in the south stand -- the match was abandoned.

Let's lay it on the line that was not a soccer game. That was "Gladiator".

It was great to see Rome go back to its Roman Empire days. It was an interesting history lesson.

In this coliseum (stadium), the gladiators (fans) wearing masks and armor were running around insulting and stabbing each other, setting up barricades and starting fires with torches (flares), beating the soldiers (police), and hailing loyalty to their rulers (soccer teams).

The only things that were missing were the tigers, snakes and Russell Crowe.

Here's a couple of important questions: Is it still safe to watch soccer games on TV? Do I have to keep tear gas and a Billy club by the remote just in case my family members get overwhelmed?


Mafia Grip on Waste Business Creates Unbearable Stink in South Italy

Naples - March 22, 2004 - Mountains of stinking, rotting, rat-infested garbage filled the streets of a dozen towns in southern Italy yesterday in a public health emergency that politicians blamed on the Mafia's grip on the waste disposal industry.

In Aversa, a town noted for its sparkling white wine and mozzarella cheese, about 1,300 tons of solid urban waste were piled up, causing Domenico Ciaramella, the mayor, to appeal for the Italian army to intervene.

"We are in a state of war," Mr. Ciaramella said.

At Herculaneum, site of the ancient Roman town that was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79, tourists made their way past piles of plastic bags of rubbish.

The crisis in the Campania region has lasted two weeks and has forced local authorities to close schools and food markets and consider shutting government offices.

But the problem is exacerbated, in the view of politicians and anti-mafia investigators, by the prominent role played by the Camorra, the main organized crime group in Campania, in waste disposal.

Pier Luigi Vigna, Italy's national anti-mafia prosecutor, said the inability of Campania's local authorities to clean up the garbage showed how the Camorra was exploiting the crisis. "The lack of solidarity is really impressive. The hand of the Camorra is behind this lack of solidarity."

The employers' association of Italy's waste industry estimates that Mafia groups work so closely with legal companies that cannot get rid of their rubbish efficiently that they dispose of at least 11m tons of garbage every year.

Mafia groups control about 30 per cent of Italy's entire waste management business and rack up annual revenues of up to 7bn Euros ($8.6bn, 4.7bn), according to the national anti-mafia commission. By withholding its co-operation in the present emergency, the Camorra aims to put on the squeeze on desperate companies and citizens and make them use its own services, investigators say.

Okay, "va bene!" Excuse me while I add the mayor's request for military intervention to Italy's current war list:

1.) Kosovo
2.) Afghanistan
3.) Iraq
4.) Garbage Crisis in Campania

However; I do feel sorry for the archeologists at the site of Herculaneum. Before they can clear away the ashes from Mount Vesuvius, they have to dig through the fried fish scales, empty bottles of cheap Naples after-shave and CDs of bad Napolitano music.

But, at the end, this teaches a valuable lesson for all of us. 

You should always give a big smile to your garbage man even when he purposely makes a racket banging your empty garbage cans and leaving them turned upside down in the middle of the street. You never know whom he works for.


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Sicilian Seizes Ambulance to Speed Mom to Hospital

Palermo - March 3, 2004 - An impatient Sicilian farmer leapt behind the wheel of an ambulance Tuesday to get his sick mother to hospital faster but was charged with theft and kidnapping for his pains.

The farmer had taken his mother to a small medical center in the south of the Mediterranean island but, after talking to doctors, decided he could not wait for an ambulance driver to take her to hospital in a bigger town, 20 km (12 miles) away.

"I was just worried about my mother," quoted the 43-year-old as saying.

The woman, whose condition was not known, was later flown by helicopter to a hospital in the capital Palermo, though not by her son.

Why bother with Italian ambulances? He should have taken his mother to the hospital with his tractor. It would have been safer, faster and more comfortable.

All of us here at the news office are very happy that our fellow Palermitano had a happy ending. After all it could have been worse. Those Sicilian doctors could have examined his mother over the phone.


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